There was an extremely dramatic finish to this weekend’s club hockey series between the CSU Rams and Colorado Buffaloes, culminating with third period-fireworks that included six disqualifications.
The Rams were defeated by the Buffaloes 7-3 in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,200 at Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins on Saturday night. With the loss, the Rams missed a chance to bypass regionals and go straight to Nationals after beating CU 4-2 Friday night in Boulder.
CSU coach Joe Sharrock was the first to be ejected. CSU players Doug Robinson, Jake McFarland and Casey Schermerhorn followed and were kicked out for fighting. The Buffaloes also had two disqualifications.
President and captain Jordan Stover, who was one of four seniors honored on Senior Night, was frustrated with the outcome, but was still able to take a few good things away from the game.
“We gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Stover said. “They didn’t care if we won or lost. They just wanted to see blood, and we definitely did that. It’s a bummer, but it happens sometimes.”
Coach Sharrock was extremely disappointed in the outcome and in the way the referees called the game.
“I’m not disappointed in my team or my players,” he said. “We made a couple of minor mistakes that should not cost us the game.”
Sharrock was disqualified for blowing up after several controversial calls by the referees.
“The effort we put into practice, team meals and team meetings deserves more than the effort those stripes (referees) put on the ice tonight,” he said. “It gets out of control quickly, especially with over 1,000 fans and the intensity that’s on both benches.”
The Rams were in control of the game for the first two periods of play. Freshman forward Mike Saint scored the first goal 10 minutes into the game, and sophomore forward Mitch Hoover put the Rams on top 2-1 with 7:56 left in the second.
Then the Buffaloes scored three consecutive goals to start the third period. Two came off power play opportunities. Rams forward Derek O’Donnell scored to make it 4-3, and that was the closest CSU would get to making a comeback.
“We came out without the intensity that we had in the second period,” Sharrock said. “It was like the second period was such domination, that it was almost like the third was going to be a piece of cake.”
The third period was dominated by penalties and power plays. The Rams had 49 out of 75 penalty minutes come in the third period. The Buffaloes only had 30 penalty minutes for the game and were five of 17 on power play opportunities.
The Rams dominated the physical battle throughout the game. Stover said the team realized some of its toughness, but also the importance of self-control.
“Going through the hand shake, there was probably six or seven guys with blood all over their face from CU, and we were all okay,” Stover said. “We just need to learn self control.”
Despite the loss, the Rams still lead the season series 2-1-1. CSU, which returns to the ice Feb. 16 to face Eastern Washington at EPIC, is the only team in a league of 150 to beat the CU this season.
“It was good for the rivalry,” Sharrock said. “This just makes me hate CU even more. I’m glad the fans were here. I’m glad they were cheering there heads off. There was a lot of good stuff to cheer for.”
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Sports reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org